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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Blasphemy of Reason, Age of Reason by Thomas Paine $5.99






The Blasphemy of Reason
Age of Reason Complete Text by American Founder Thomas Paine $5.99
Or, Buy Print book on Amazon.com by clicking HERE or Kindle HERE (coming soon)

Introduction 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke. 

As you leaf through the pages of this book, you might think it was written by someone in our day, viewing our political climate.  However, it was actually written 200 years ago by one of the founding fathers of our country, Thomas Paine.

Paine was author to two works that would inspire the revolutionaries to break from England and inspire them to fight a war of independence: Common Sense (which sold up to 150,000 copies in 1776) and The American Crisis series, being brought over by Benjamin Franklin for inspiration for that quest for liberty.

However, the themes of that day are, to me, particularly relevant to our current society, where we have a rise in far right religious nationalism, similar to the day in which Paine lived when he wrote the book Age of Reason in three parts in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  As with then, large religious groups that are aligning themselves with patriotism have their own agenda and, after promoting "freedom" to gain that power seek to take that freedom away.

And, so I am putting out this printing of this book for your review, without annotation.  I do not claim to agree with all of his statements, but I find his reasoning compelling.  The fact that I present something that I don't fully accept for review is exactly my point in presenting it and the reason I most think it must be read.  REASON, by it's very nature, does not preceed a question with an answer, but it listens to answers to inspire questions.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in the tales of Sherlock Holmes...
  
"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." 
Indeed, our children know this lesson much better than we do, as they BEGIN their journey of learning by asking why, and they end it when they are told to stop questioning and "just because," which is how I find myself daily having to question things I have always believed that have proven false.  Yet, I accepted them on the words of those that accepted them from others, who accepted them from others and so on.

So, I ask you to approach this work with the open mind of Sherlock to listen... just listen .. to an independent mind of Paine free of institutional or peer pressure, as he questions and reflects on the facts of faith, freedom, and government, as well as the intersection of all three, being a published and recognized participant in all 3 (as reflections of a founding father that was a believer in God and recognized authority and influence of the freedom we, now, enjoy.  He can't be all wrong, and wouldn't you rather understand what you believe, rather than being told you have no right to ask contemporary questions to answers given by those who were not alive to see life as it has become?  

We can either promote darkness or light, and years ago I learned to illuminate my path, again, by asking why.   
 

--

In this work, Paine (and all of his generation and prior generations) had been subjected to the establishment of religion by those in government power, and, as they were creating the new government they were concerned about reviving this error.  It was why they put the establishment clause in the First Amendment and why Thomas Jefferson warned so forcefully about the needed Separation of Church and State.  However, Paine felt that established religion needed challenged with the same independence that the government had just faced.

From Paine's profession of faith...

"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them. 

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. 

I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

...The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited, by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and priest-craft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed, and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more." 


So, as you leaf through this book's pages, take the time to reflect not only on what has happened in the past but what may happen in the future, if we leave this alliance unchecked.  Paine wrote this book so that future generations, such as our own, would not repeat the horrors to which they so violently broke free.



Blog Focus Changes

I am making a few changes to my blogs, due to time limitations and life realities.  Up to current, I have had a Lifestyle blog, a magic blog, and a fitness blog posts on the lifestyle page, as well as instagram's and twitter's for each, and a Pinterest that has gone very very neglected.  Here are the changes...

1.  Ending fitness blog.  It was kinda a stretch for me to have a fitness blog at all, as I don't have any certifications in the area and run at most about 3-4 miles.  I did and do like sharing my activities with others, and I will continue the fitness Instagram and Twitter as I find time to post there, but the blog focus will dissipate.

2.  Lifestyle blog.  When I began the lifestyle blog under the name Forward to Happiness, it was from lessons learned in dealing with narcissistic people and having the self respect to move on from those that would bring negativity into your life toward those that bring you happiness, and it was my intention for it to be a temporary blog leading to focus SOLELY upon being happy with your new life.  However, as I began that movement, I discovered two things... 1.  SOME of those that hold you back can get a foothold in your life to require continued interaction (such as an ex with custody sharing issues) and 2.  There are a lot of a**holes in the world, and the likelihood of you having to re-experience the issues again and again is high.  Plus, there will always be new readers on here that can benefit from my lessons learned.

Therefore, I plan to dedicate more time to this focus and divide it between the messages of dealing with those that cause us harm and bringing back MORE of the positive posts that, previously, were on my Living First Edition blogsite, before I migrated that to this domain, as well.  So, some will be FORWARD (dealing with the negative) and some will be HAPPINESS (keeping your center on those things that give life meaning).

You will have undoubtably noticed that my criticism of those that cause us harm has moved from my ex as main focus to Trump, and that will continue for two reasons.  I believe that ALL narcissistic users share many of the same characteristics, and most things I say about Trump applies to my ex as well.  Second, I believe Trump and the GOP are a threat to the entire NATION and the WORLD, as evidenced by the elimination of protections of the environment, healthcare for the sick, food for the poor, and protections for the economy.  So, his Presidency and Congress, while on a national level, will cause suffering by neglect and abuse to millions on an individual level.  So, desiring to move us as a COUNTRY to happiness, I will continue to illuminate their abuse and neglect, until we have a more stable and empathetic path to the happiness of us all.

3.  Finally, I am going to be doing more product ads.  It's a fact of life that we all need money to survive, and I plan to be doing fitness, fandom, and magic product ads to that end (though the magic products will be on the magic blog, instagram, and twitter, as well as the shared Pinterest for this page.  There will be Tarot card readings offered on those pages, as well.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why the GOP would fail pre-school (social skills)

For the time being, I am a rideshare driver, until my new job starts next month.  Doing this job, I have experienced a LOT of types of people and have had a good sampling of how people can be, both IN and OUTSIDE the car.  And, just driving through Tulsa on a daily basis and seeing what I have ALREADY seen a lot of but see now more widespread, I can say that this GOP Religious Right community would fail preschool, and it is just a microcosm of what we see from the GOP at large.

From PBS's page on grade by grade page for preschool's Social Studies section...

"Understanding how to get along with others can often take up the biggest part of a preschooler’s day. Children learn how to resolve conflicts and practice skills like sharing, taking turns and cleaning up. They figure out how to express their feelings using words. The class may also explore its community and the people in it by taking short field trips around the neighborhood."

 Do those sound like things conservatives are known for... getting along with others, sharing, taking turns, cleaning up, resolving things with words, exploring the diversity of what is around us?

Getting Along With Others

Well, we know the conservatives fail this one, because rather than negotiate with the Democrats, after winning the Presidency by less than a majority, they fired everyone they could in the government, are hiring only those willing to do loyalty oaths in top positions, defunded entire government branches they didn't like, and crafted the healthcare plan without allowing ONE Democrat into the meetings to see it or to help.  Indeed, if there is ONE thing that Trump is known for, it is his barrage of tweets CONDEMNING others, whether that be his own citizens or other world leaders, not to mention the plans to ban entire religions from being present and plans to start new WARS with other lands.

Sharing

All you have to do to see this failure is look at the proposed budgets from Trump and the GOP.  In them, you will see tax cuts for the rich and less aid for the poor and suffering.  Indeed, one of the HALLMARKS of not only the GOP but the Religious Right is their protest AGAINST social programs to feed, shelter, and care for the poor and sick, BECAUSE they don't want to pay for it.  As I type this, Oklahoma that I have had the misfortune of living in (until next month) is almost LAST in the country for Education funding, because they don't want to have to pay a few cents of their taxes for others (explaining this post's education failures), and in Congress we had MEN saying they didn't want to be taxed to pay for WOMEN's health needs.

Taking Turns

This is the one that I see the most in traffic.  On almost a daily basis, I see the following.  Cars are lined up in one lane, because the other lane is closed ahead with an arrow and lights warning people to change lanes.  I bet you can guess what I am going to say, as even YOU know how society is turning.  Well, from a half mile back, cars see the signs and, rather than merge into the slow lane, they rush up to the very last space they can get in the closed lane and FORCE their way into the slow lane at the end.  I watch this happen, daily, and not just by one car but many.  Then, there is speeding.  We DO have speed laws, and those laws are punishable by fines.  However, in this religious right community, I was taking the Broken Arrow expressway, today, and noticed that EVERY car on it was speeding...every one.. by at least 5 MPH.  If you want to get over in traffic, what do you do?  Well, according to the law, you put on your blinker and the cars behind you will let you over, right?  Not here.  HERE, you put on your blinker, and they rush up quickly from behind to get ahead of you.  Indeed, if you want anyone to speed up, all you have to do is act like you are going to pass them, and the very idea that you would beat them causes them to increase their speed.

Cleaning Up

One word...environment.  I really don't have to say anything else.  The capitalism party that CREATES the most pollution is at present pulling out of agreements that make them clean it up, because they don't want to spend the money to do it.

Resolving Things With Words

By this I don't mean they express ANGER with words, because I think Trump and the GOP have a corner on that.  Trump will go down in history as an ANGRY man, as will anyone that follows him.  But, now.... RESOLVING things with words is another thing, completely.  As soon as Trump became President, he and the GOP RUSHED to get us out of United Nations peace negotiations with muslim countries and North Korea and Afghanistan.  What did they do instead of TALKING to other lands?  Why.... several dozen cruize missiles in Syria, the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan, threatening full war in North Korea, and ...as I type this.. they are putting together war plans to fight Syria and Iran national government troops.  And, the GOP WONDERS why the world hates us, when we cast out their people and attack their lands.

Exploring the World and Diversity

Conservatives are really not much for getting outside of their bubble.  I recall the Pace Picante sauce commercials in the past that would have them mocking others for getting salsa in "NEW YORK CITY?"  Ha.  Indeed, when I was growing up, I had one of my father's friends say, "You are just a city boy, aren't you?"  I said yeah and was happy.  Then, my father explained that wasn't a compliment.  Conservatives retained the "Southern Heritage" pride from the civil war to believe they are better than others, and that has only grown in time.  There is no professional NFL team in Oklahoma, because they are too proud of their college teams and don't care about cheering for other states.  As we speak, they are also pushing legislation that would like them completely re-write education courses to teach the Bible in classrooms and NOT to have to say things like... evolution, climate change, birth control, etc in the classrooms and not have to teach about the values of the cultures of say.... Arabs or Chinese or any other that is not like their own.  And, God forbid if someone is gay within 50 feet of them, because I guess that would infect them and give them the homosexual plague, so that must be kept quiet, as well as ballet, theatre, and art, if the messages in them might be something the conservatives wouldn't want others to see, as they already wouldn't be buying tickets.

So, for all the political comics that compare Trump to a 3rd grader, I don't think the GOP has, yet, mastered the social skills to even be a first grader, and the whole country is paying for that Education failure.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Deaths by Terrorism and Guns Compared



Deaths by Terrorism and Guns Compared

I shared the above image, side by side, on my Instagram page this week @livelifekwc to illustrate a point.  On the left side, you see a Channel 4 news story about Muslims participating in providing disaster relief to those injured in the fire in London, while on the Right side is the statistic of  how many lives are lost on average to gun deaths.

Let's look at this comparison a little more.

Business Insider magazine reports that "Since 9/11, however, foreign-born terrorists have killed roughly one American per year."

ONE per year.  Not surprisingly, the cite notes, "Americans are more likely to win a lottery jackpot" than die by terrorists.  One in 45,808 people will at SOMETIME in their life die by terrorism by the odds, while it says that one in 358 will die by a gun assault.

Get that.  One out of every 358 people walking around right now will die in their life by an assault with a gun.  So SURELY these same people that are standing for SECURITY and SAFETY are amping up their fight on guns, as well, right?  I mean...it's just logic and numbers.  Surely, they have your interests at heart.


Well....not exactly.  The GOP that is always preaching the need to build walls and ban entire COUNTRIES and RELIGIONS from our country is actually fighting for MORE guns on the streets. 

This last week, a "gunman" attacked US congressional members with an assault gun.  So, they must have been outraged that someone could get a gun in that state without a background check and fire upon them.  Wrong, again.  The GOP response was that there should have been MORE guns on location, there.

So, given the numbers, the GOP would rather allow 11 thousand people a year to be injured from guns, so they can restrict travel and suspend American freedoms to prevent ONE person from dying from terrorism per year.

Indeed, Trump and the GOP was QUICK to announce plans to recind school zone bans on guns, after Trump was elected.  So, think about just how level headed your kids are right now.  Feel safer?



Trump: Savior or Psychopath... You Decide




Donald Trump: Savior or Psychopath, you decide....

For this blog post, I am going to make this short and sweet.  It continues to sicken me to see the religious continue to deny their own religious convictions to continue praising Trump as a "savior" and God's Gift to Man.  So, let's break this down to the bare bones of the argument....

What is a "savior" per the very definition of Christians, themselves?  It is someone, Christ, that died for the sins of others.  So, when the judge come knocking, Jesus stood up and said...take me, instead.  The same Christians that are supporting Trump, now, says a savior is someone that gives personal sacrifice, provides atonement for others, and through the acts of that one in taking their punishment, they are free of their "sin" and made acceptable, despite their past.

Does that sound like ANY part of Trump to you?  I am not sure that Trump has EVER admitted being "wrong" about anything, which is a necessary element for salvation per these evangelicals.  Has Trump given up ANY of his wealth to the poor, or is he proposing tax CUTS on those rich as he is and tax increases on the poor?  Is he suggesting anyone should pay more (sacrifice) so that those without food or healthcare are covered, or he suggesting the reverse?  And..sacrifice for OTHERS?  It seems to me that Trump has no hint of guilt or loyalty keeping him from throwing ANYONE of his staff or party under the bus, if it suits himself.  Rather than he sacrificing himself under scandal so that the GOP party could survive and get things done, he seems determined to burn his own party in Congress for any failures in getting his agenda passed, rather than negotiate with people of opposing positions to find a compromise that everyone likes.  It's HIM first...and HIM only.

So, does that kind of personality have a definition?

Pychopath... "a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc." - Dictionary.com

Him... inability to care, anti-social, egocentric (self focused), failure to learn from the experience and CHANGE behavior to work with others.  Does that sound like anyone you know?  Indeed, there is another word that works, too..

Narcissist - "a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish. 2. Psychoanalysis. a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes." - Dictionary.com

So, rather than someone that exhibits the self sacrificial nature of a savior, we have a narcissistic psychopath (by definition of the words) that instead of giving of himself to save the world would BURN the world to serve himself, much like the mad king that preceded the Game of Thrones stories we see on HBO, today, who screamed.. "burn them all," just as Cersei Lannister was doing to topple her enemies, later, herself.  Not like the others in that show are that much better.  It is a show about the battle of those who would put to death all who would stand in their way to power, and ... personally... I am one sheep that thinks there are more of us than one cruel shepherd on the THRONE.  God help us, till the next election.





Trump Resigning as President?

I am honestly wondering if Trump is about to resign as President.  Here are the facts...

...Trump just pulled his family away from the media at Camp David and canceled all meetings for 60 hours, according to reports.
...Mike Pence just commented that it has been a great honor to serve the President to go along with all the other, almost eulogy, praising statements.
...The Bush White House ethics lawyer just said that if Trump fires Mueller, Mike Pence would be the next President of the White House...implying the GOP will remove him.
...There is, now, public testimony that Trump fired 2 people for investigating him and told intelligence chiefs to falsify why that happened.
...New reports are coming out that Trump's money is coming from golf courses and that those golf courses are funded in part by the Russian Government Banks.
...The special council is, now, investigating Trump family members and associates for money laundering.
...Pence has been kept OUT of the Trump press releases, so he could claim ignorance, as he already has with Flynn.

...and, finally, logic.  Just think... Right now, Trump is "radioactive" as  is being reported in the press, and people are unwilling to be associated with him and are resigning and getting away, as fast as they can.  No way the GOP can pass ANYTHING under the cover of darkness, because TRUMP is highlighting the light on the GOP.  If the GOP backs him to the utter end, they go down with the scandal and lose power for the next generation (which I have been hoping would happen); but if they ask Trump to resign, they can claim they DID something, Trump can claim to be the ultimate victim but go back to doing business (which is what he wants to do anyway) minus the spotlight, and the party gets the media darkness to change the laws to make the rich richer without losing power.

Of course...the only fly in this logic is that to my knowledge Trump has never admitted failure in ANYTHING, and I don't know if the party COULD convince him to resign, even if they threatened him with force removal.

One thing is for sure.  The coming drama will be interesting.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Family, Gender, and an Unbalanced Government Home

I was out running this morning and a blog started to write itself, as it often does, as a perspective hit me as to why we need a Democrat Congress for very "Republican" reasons....Family.

First, let me say that I don't believe in stereotypes..people are who they are and the find others who complement who that is...and that is not based in whether their genitals are inside or outside.  That said, I do believe in Gender....by that I don't mean that I believe sex and gender are linked but are two different things.  Some men are sensitive and supportive, and some are leading or aggressive, but the same can be said of women.

Now, the REPUBLICANS like to cite articles and individuals that say a child's development to be balanced and complete need both genders as parents, and they say THIS is the reason why they are opposed to gay couples with children.  But, again, the problem is that Republicans are saying that ALL men are one way and ALL women are another, which is absurd, unless you think Shakespeare played hockey on the side, or Joan of Arc really wanted to raise a lot of little girls to have tea parties.  Personally, I would tend to think I am more gender female, while I a very sexually and physically male, but I have found someone that loves that sensitive side to me, which makes us a good pair, even though EVERY male can be romantic and every female can be providing.

But, to get back to the point, REGARDLESS of whether you think gender is tied to sex, even Democrats believe a balanced family has both GENDERS, even if Democrats allow that to be filled by the same sex, and that makes sense.  You need someone to lead and someone to follow, even if you are only dancing; and no one leading means you will never eat ... "where do you want to go...well, where do YOU want to go...etc" and no one provide while both support.  No... a partnership in a family requires both leadership AND a heart.  It requires a "man" or leader to say this is what I need to do to make money and protect you, and it requires someone to say,"well, we have to think about the children and what they need."  So, the MAN (or male gender) works hard to provide, and the WOMAN (or sensitive one) says, "but don't work too much so we can spend time with you" (reminding him what is truly important.

NOW,  let's look at the parties.  We have Republicans saying that they want to fight and to work and to earn and get richer, and we have the Democrats saying, "Well, what about the children"....or the elderly or the environment or etc.... MALE Republicans and WOMEN Democrats, which not ironically is how the majority of both sexes voted.  However, right now, BOTH the President AND Congress are the first.

So, to carry forward to analogy and gender of the parties, we have two MALES married in our government family, with the President saying THIS is what we are going to do, but the FEMALE is absent, as the Government Family's male gender counterpart, instead of saying to the leader "what about the kids" are saying to the kids "shut up and take what he gives you."

Thus, FAMILY structure, itself, suggests that we need to elect a Congress with a heart for the innocent and poor, and the GOP has very clearly shown, that will not be them.  If we want our nation to GROW and develop into a strong balanced nation, we need to elect a Democrat Congress mom to represent them and make policies that are good for everyone.

Forward to Happiness / Godwitch / Run My Own Life Pinterest